Mr. Schäuble, TRUMPF is a traditional machine manufacturer. Why get involved in digital services?
TRUMPF will continue to be primarily a machine manufacturer. But in the era of Industry 4.0, we want to be a pioneer in digital connectivity as well. In other words, developing new machinery solutions for tomorrow while offering the best possible means of connecting them digitally. That’s why we develop software and platform solutions that are tailored to our customers’ requirements. What’s more, we accompany our customers during their transition to networked production.
How does that work?
Step by step. And we offer various consulting solutions. At a half-day Smart Factory Experience workshop, interested parties from different companies learn all about the potential of smart factories, then experience networked production firsthand during a tour of TRUMPF facilities. We also conduct all-day Smart Factory checks at customer sites: TRUMPF will analyze your secondary processes and identify which processes offer excellent potential for optimization via connectivity. Last but not least, we offer a five-day Smart Factory consulting package. This comprehensive service provides an in-depth Smart Factory concept that features customized suggested solutions, potential for savings, necessary capital expenditure and implementation planning – including suitable offers from the TruConnect portfolio and according to requirements solutions from the AXOOM business platform or from third-party vendors.
What happens after that?
That depends on the customer in question. Our Smart Factory consulting package is designed to address a customer’s unique situation. More specifically, there might be quick wins that we can initiate during our week of consulting and the customer can then follow up on. Some projects involve the connection of existing systems; after a bit of advising, customers can handle that themselves. We sometimes recommend comprehensive projects with third parties – implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, for instance. Naturally, TRUMPF also oversees some implementation projects, which often begin in production facilities. We optimize processes, aided by principles of lean management and with the help of digital support – for instance by providing transparency of machine runtime. We can build on this foundation to develop comprehensive connectivity solutions, step by step. In short, we help our customers realize their smart factories until everything runs the way they want.
Could you sum up what all this means?
No two customers are the same because no two factories are the same. But challenges are mounting for all customers all the time. To name just one example: shrinking batch sizes, which means more and more orders of fewer units than in the past. Customers generally lack transparency of order status, capacity or utilization rate. In addition, the effort needed to manually coordinate and approve everything is considerable and prone to errors. It is essential to make work more cost-efficient and flexible as well as reduce throughput times. To this end, we must optimize our customers’ secondary processes – from quoting prices to shipping parts – and integrate these processes in a universal complete system. We strive to play a pivotal role with our consulting services for networked production and our TruConnect offerings.
Your impetus for networked production
During a half-day company-wide event, people with an interest in smart factories can learn all about the technology’s potential. A guided tour gives the participants precise insights as they experience networked manufacturing at TRUMPF. All remaining questions can be asked and clarified during a subsequent expert discussion.
The introduction to your networked production
The one-day manufacturing check helps participants decide which parts of their operations would benefit from the switch to a smart factory. First, all indirect processes are analyzed – from customer queries and drawing up offers through to programming and invoicing. Then the processes for which connectivity offers particularly high optimization potential are defined.